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Calling on all kiwi MN'rs - New Zealand help and suggestions needed!

(18 Posts)
PenguinProject Tue 29-Sep-09 22:48:25


My husband and I will be moving from London to NZ for a trial year at the end on November. We'll be near Palmerston North at first where DH's family lives (he's a kiwi). We're currently planning to settle nearer to Wellington, but I like the look of Nelson, so want to check that out first.

DH is looking into apprenticeships for carpentry whilst I will do some part time cafe/bookshop work I hope. I'm just being made redundant from a investment banking job, so really looking for a low key, low pressure job for a bit. Most of the time I'll be a SAHM though.

DS is 15 months.

Please can you let me know anything you possibly think will help. What is Wellington like for children? Any shipping recommendations? Anyone been to Nelson? What culture shocks should I prepare myself for? Anything at all you can warn me of would be useful! grin

Many thanks for reading this far. wink

beatiebow Wed 30-Sep-09 19:31:17

I probably can't help much as I haven't had children there but did grow up there myself many moons ago.
Nelson is meant to have great weather etc but I think it might be a bit boring living there because of its relative isolation. Wellington is a great place to live (though very very windy) but house prices look really expensive there. I have only ever rented a room/tiny flat there so don't know where is the most affordable (yet liveable) place to be.

PenguinProject Wed 30-Sep-09 22:21:04

Thank you for replying Beatiebow! I fear Nelson may be too small for me, although the hippy vibe is appealling (time for a change). I know it sounds ridiculous but I fear that the wind may be an issue for me in Wellington. I can take rain, snow, sleet and sun, but wind? Not so much. I guess we'll see when we get there! grin

Sibble Thu 01-Oct-09 04:57:14

Hi there are quite a few Wellington mumsnetters who will tell you how wonderful Wellington is for families and which are good areas etc. We've had alot of fun visiting with the boys on a number of occasions (we're in Auckland). I think wherever you are here it's very family orientate with many things you pay for in the UK free or affordable. IMO a far better place to bring up children. It's school holidays here at the moment so the Wellington crowd might be away. Oh and I have to agree that it is windy!

We used Anglo-Pacific to ship our goods, they were OK. To keep a long story short they broke an expensive glass light fitting and refused to pay through the insurance as I hadn't bought the broken item with me to prove at this end it was broken (despite the packer phoning them when he did it to say he'd broken it). Again others have used different companies with no problems. Hopefully they will come on line at some stage.

Not sure what to say about culture shocks except that it is very different to the UK but it's hard to say exactly how. Language, culture, humour, work ethic etc.......all different. I would just say come with an open mind. As soon as you get off the plane think in NZ$, don't convert otherwise you'll be broke in no time! Bring all your UK clothes houses are (usually) unheated or poorly heated and it gets very cold here. Stock up on books if you're a big reader or childrens books most people I know use libraries here as books seem very expensive. As soon as you arrive find out where your local Plunket is, they will put you in touch with mother and toddler groups, toy libraries, playgroups etc....

Can't think of anything else, if you want to know anything specific let me know.

ZacharyQuack Thu 01-Oct-09 05:30:56

Hi, I'm a Kiwi in Wellington which is indeed windy but very nice otherwise. Palmerston North is also known for winds, BTW!

Have you had a browse for other expats in NZ threads? There's quite a bit of info around, plus some links to expat forums, which might be useful.

Wellington is hilly, arty, creative, best coffee in NZ (and therefore best coffee in the world), full of coffee bores, small, political, liberal.

Nelson - known for sunshine and lots of artsy folk. Can be cold and frosty in Winter. A well known wine growing region. Great beaches.

Palmerston North is a combination of middle aged conservative and party-hard University students.

NZ has fairly good creches (depends where you are) and kindergarten education is "free" (aka subsidised) for over threes.

You might want to check out Playcentre a parent-run early childhood education centre. It's a really good way to meet local parents and children, as you generally help with running the sessions.

Flights from NZ to Europe are very expensive, especially if you're paying $NZ; so if you have family in the UK you might not get to see much of them. The cost of living in NZ is lower than the UK, but so are the wages.

lavenderbongo Thu 01-Oct-09 07:00:00

Hi - We have been in Wellington just over 6 months having moved from the UK.

We love it here. I have two dds, aged 5 and 2 and we find life over here really is great for families. We moved to a suburb about 20 minutes out from Wellington and my oldest dd has just started the local school which she loves.

People here are very friendly and although we miss our family back home I dont feel isolated as a SAHM.

We brought all our furniture out here and I am glad we did as its very expensive and there is no Ikea! We used the firm "Bonners" who have moved us internationally before and they were great. They worked in conjunction with the "Moving Group" in NZ.

I found out loads of stuff from reading people blogs who had already moved out here. You can pick up loads of useful info. I have also been keeping a blog you can probably find it if you google my name. If you need any other info I would be really happy to help. Its great over here and I would recommend it to everyone!

WhatSheSaid Thu 01-Oct-09 08:32:08

I agree with what everyone else has said about Wellington and Nelson. Both v nice. Don't know much about Palmy but I don't think it's that fab really...all the wind of Wellington and none of its attractions is what I've heard.

I'll do a few links for you...

Trade Me property page has houses for sale and rent so you can check out prices - obviously it will depend a lot on area, espec in Wellington as it's much bigger.

The exchange rate is crazily high (or low, depending how you look at it) at the mo so it may seem quite expensive when you convert. Probably best to see what you and dh would earn over here. This government careers site should give you an indication if you search for your occupations. Seek is the biggest job website so you could get an idea of jobs in the areas you are looking at.

Erm...yep, houses are cold, mostly uninsulated with no central heating or double glazing - try to get a north facing house (gets more sun) and newer houses tend to be warmer. It is a good place to live, loads of stuff to do with kids, espec outdoor stuff...can't think of anything else at mo...

beatiebow Thu 01-Oct-09 09:45:43

Now I am homesick again. Wish I could be back in Wellington!

PenguinProject Thu 01-Oct-09 20:17:25

Wow you guys are great, thank you so much. I have checked out some ex pat forums on other sites but I knew I'd get some good advice from fellow MN'rs.

My job ends on 8 Nov so we'll be arriving in NZ anytime from then until Xmas. It is so exciting and your comments make it seem real.

WhatSheSaid Thu 01-Oct-09 20:24:44

You'll be arriving at a good time - just in time for summer smile

PenguinProject Thu 01-Oct-09 20:47:16

I know, it's strange walking around the shops seeing all the Xmas things knowing I won't be here for it. Also not much point buying a coat/scarf/gloves as I won't see winter for another 6 months!

newkiwi Fri 02-Oct-09 04:34:22

I've been in Auckland since last July. Don't write it off as a destination. To me it has a lot of the advantages of a city and of living in the country. We're a ten minute walk from the sea and the weather rocks.

I agree about housing though- we froze through our first winter. In fact, it was warmer outside a lot of the time. Be very careful about your first place and check windows/doors fit etc.

Culture wise, be prepared. People here are NICE. I can't take a map out on the street without people offering directions. On the downside, it is an expensive place to live and relocation is also costly. It's also a long way from 'home' and the time difference is a pain. We're just about to come back to the UK for our first visit and I'm really worried how it will be.

I'd also suggest you check out which is an incredibly useful forum for stuff like shipping, visa's etc. It can be a little rose tinted though.

Good luck, it's a big adventure. Even if it doesn't work out long term you'll learn a lot and it'll be worth it.

check out

PenguinProject Sat 03-Oct-09 18:18:12

Newkiwi - Thank you for your post. The only reason we aren't yet considering Auckland is that it's a bit far away from the family we are moving to NZ for! I have it in the back of mind in case I find the other towns too small after London.

Thank you for the first house advice. I'm scared about being cold - have made DH promise to buy me some cashmere bedsocks! grin

I love that I should be prepared for people being nice, that really will be a culture shock.

Off to check out emigrate nz now. Thank you.

JeMeSouviens Sat 03-Oct-09 18:43:25

If you're wanting to be close to Palmerston North, check out Hawkes Bay while you're there.

I grew up there, it is lovely in summer, loads of orchards and market gardens around, not far from the beach, and only a couple of hours to Palmerston, about 4hrs to Wellington, 2.5hrs to Taupo and skiing, and about 5hrs to Auckland.

ZZZenAgain Sun 04-Oct-09 16:39:23

I think since your dh is a Kiwi and has family back home, settling in will not be too difficult for you as a family. He will know the ropes.

What you might need to prepare yourself for is the change from a busy full-time job being an investment banker in London to living in a more provincial (I don't mean this in a derogatory sense) place in a low key job or as a SAHM. I can imagine it will be nice to unwind after the move and have time with ds; but after say 6 months, you may be chomping at the bit and it might be nice to be within commuting distance of work/activities that you can envisage doing longer-term.

I don't know if there would be much scope for you as an investment banker outside of Auckland/Wellington - possibly Christchurch. I really have no idea but it might be worth looking into that or being based near a university if you were thinking of retraining in some way.

Sibble Sun 04-Oct-09 19:04:01

Very wise words ZZZenAgain. I did the same when we moved out here, gave up a very full on high pressure job with long hours etc (part of the reason for moving) to be a SAHM and struggled. I think I would have struggled even without the move but being at home all day with ds who was 2.5 at the time with no family or old friends was hard. I tried a few part time jobs but didn't feel stimulated. I've been lucky enough to find part time work in a similar field to my old job at home initially through a friend I met here. What I've found here is that(for my field at least) employers are more open to job shares, part timers etc....Employers seem to love people with international experience and I've literally been offered jobs through word of mouth over the past few years. At the moment I have the best of both worlds I earn good money work 4 days school hours and no school holidays (my boys are 5 and 9 now), a fraction of the pressure I had at home but have a stimulating job as well. So I guess I'm saying like ZZZenAgain don't think you have to change your profession completely (unless you want to) look at your skills and look for something utilising skills, you might be surprised with what turns up.

Kiwinyc Sun 11-Oct-09 13:58:22

I grew up in the sth island but spent my last 7 yrs before leaving NZ in Wellington where I went to university. I've been back often since visiting friends to who stayed and had their families. Its true about the houses - i don't understand why NZ'ers still haven't discovered insulation beacuse winter is COLD but many houses have wood burners or you can use those electric oil-filled radiators. OTherwise get an electric blanket or use hot water bottles and discover why everyone in NZ thinks Ugg boots are merely... slippers. grin You will be arriving the spring though, which is a good time of the year to get there!

Nelson is lovely and has a rep for being arty and bohemian. Wellington has pretty much everything (except Ikea) and the wind keeps the air incredibly clean and fresh. It never gets that hot there but a sunny day in Wellington is stunning. The recession has affected NZ a bit though, there are not a lot of jobs about and people i know with govt contracts have not had them renewed. Wellington is great for children though as i've seen with my friends and their kids, theres lots to do although you will need a car to get to it all.

ZZZenAgain Tue 13-Oct-09 10:37:24

LOL at the ugg boots being normal slippers. Everyone has thick sheepskin slippers and an electric blanket, and you learn to get dressed double quick, no faffing about being late for school

Yes, why not insulate? I mean I know roofs/attics are generally insulated so why not the walls?

Car also quite useful once you see the impracticality of umbrellas in Wellington's wnters.

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